No. 3 Missouri 71, Texas A&M 62
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)
Expected to contend for the Big 12 title this season, injuries and inconsistent play have instead sunk Texas A&M to among the league's worst teams.
''This year has been tough on everybody, but this team is going to keep on fighting,'' Texas A&M's Khris Middleton said. ''We got down and we fought back.''
Missouri tied a school record with its 12th Big 12 win.
Texas A&M cut the lead to five points on a 3-pointer by Elston Turner with 1:22 remaining. A turnover by Phil Pressey on the next play gave A&M the ball back.
''Steve is really good at moving his feet and getting in position to make those plays,'' Missouri coach Frank Haith said.
Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy didn't seem to see it the same way.
''I didn't know David could knock down a 6-9, 300-pound guy to be honest with you,'' Kennedy said. ''We've got to get those kind of breaks against a very good Missouri team.''
Marcus Denmon's 3 on the other end pushed the lead to 68-60 with 35 seconds left and his two free throws seconds later sealed the win for Missouri (25-2, 12-2).
Middleton, in his third game back after missing five straight with a knee injury, had 15 points to lead A&M (13-13, 4-10).
Missouri's victory breaks a five-game losing streak for the Tigers in College Station, a place where they hadn't won since 2001. The Tigers had lost eight straight overall to A&M before sweeping the series this season.
Middleton said the team has maintained a positive attitude because the players hope they can turn things around.
''We're all used to winning,'' he said. ''None of us had losing seasons before. No one likes losing. We're all winners.''
''They're very difficult to guard,'' Kennedy said. ''You take Ratliffe away and English hurts you. They've got so many weapons.''
The Aggies, who have lost five of their last six games, were playing without injured point guard Dash Harris for the seventh straight game.
''They've got to get all their parts back,'' Haith said of the Aggies. ''Right now they don't have Dash back and I think that hurts this team a great deal.''
The Tigers led by 13 points with 7 1/2 minutes left before a 12-7 run by A&M cut it to 63-55 with less than 4 minutes remaining. Missouri hit two free throws before A&M started its last run.
Texas A&M used a 6-0 spurt early in the second half to whittle Missouri's lead to 34-32 with about 16 minutes remaining. Missouri's offense went cold in that span and the Tigers went almost 3 minutes without scoring.
A 3-pointer by Denmon got them going again and extended the lead to 37-32. That was the start of a 12-4 run which made it 46-36 with 12 1/2 minutes remaining. Denmon had a second 3 later in the run.
Kennedy liked that his team kept this one close throughout.
''Our guys have done a really good job of staying in games and not breaking,'' he said. ''I like our toughness.''
Missouri's Matt Pressey tweaked his left ankle with about 12 1/2 minutes remaining. He went to the bench and then hobbled to the locker room after talking with a trainer. He returned to the bench with about 9 1/2 minutes left, but didn't re-enter the game.
Haith said he was OK, but that he had struggled with that ankle throughout the year.
Jordan Green finished with a season-high 14 points for A&M.